Stationary Off-Ice Harness for Jump Training – Part 5 (Sheila Thelen)

Figure skating specialist coach Sheila Thelen continues her series on using a stationary off-ice harness for air position and rotation training for figure skating jumps. In Part 1, Sheila discussed basic setup and safety issues. In Part 2, Sheila explained how to use the harness and some of the technical details for improving a skater’s air position. In Part 3, Sheila focused mostly on common harness questions and topics of interest to coaches. In Part 4, she offered more helpful insights about using the harness, including sizing the support vest for small skaters. In this video, Sheila focuses mostly on skater air position.

[NOTE: Sheila is the President of Champion Skating Harness which offers some of the best on-ice and off-ice harness systems available anywhere in the world today, including replacement parts for pole harnesses. She also has a tremendous amount of experience using harnesses of all kinds, as well as extensive experience with installation and maintenance of these systems.]

Sheila begins by sharing a trick she learned from Audrey Weisiger. By pressing straight down on a skater’s head, a skater typically has to engage their core and stabilizing muscles, which results a more firm jump air position (and spin position too) and a more accurate axis (straight position). For the first skater Sheila addresses the tendency to turn the head by using the ‘bite the coat’ drill and both demonstrating skaters in this video need help with their foot position in the air. Sheila reminds them of the flox position where the axis/landing foot is in flexed in extension (not pointed) and the axis/landing leg is straight and locked. This video is helpful as it shows common errors coaches typically need to address when using the off-ice harness. Sheila pulls out her phone and shows just how little time a skater has in the air to hit the desired air position, which highlights just how valuable this kind of detailed and repetitive training in the off-ice harness can be.


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